Luke 2:42-45 “When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.”
How often we make the same mistake – thinking that Jesus is with us when He is tarrying someplace else. It is very important to make sure that all I do, what I think, etc. that Jesus is with me and not tarrying someplace else.
One of the problems with tradition is that we get set in our ways and often we find the Spirit of Jesus moving in a different direction and we do not notice and so carry on the same way trying to accomplish the work of God in the flesh.
We find this in the history of the church and especially when it comes to missions. In the first wave of missions William Carey (known as the father of Modern Missions) went out like Abraham not knowing where he was going, but knowing that God had called him to launch out. In being obedient to the Lord – New Mission Societies came into existence. Also, the Bible Society was started so that the Word of God could follow the mission endeavors. Much of the mission work during that time was being established along the coastlands of the different continents.
In the second wave of missions Hudson Taylor went to China and saw that most of the work was being done along the coastland. He decided that he would change his dress from European to Chinese and go inland. In this new paradigm, new structures were needed to achieve what the Spirit was doing. So we find New Mission Societies were being established – the China Inland Missions, Africa Inland Missions, etc.
In what is known as the third wave of missions, again new paradigms were needed. Cameron Townsend handing out Spanish Bibles in Central America gave a Spanish Bible to an old man who did not speak Spanish. The old man spoke to Townsend asking: If your God is so great why can’t He speak my language? This led Townsend to do research and found that there were many different languages and so the Bible Translators work was started as well as many other missions meeting this need to get God’s precious Word into all the languages of the world.
The reason I mention these different waves of missions over the past several hundred years is that we were slow in seeing what the Father was doing and moving along with Him. We see the same thing in the church today. I can predict what will happen in most of our church services every Sunday and maybe this is what the Lord wants, but perhaps the Lord might want to do something else, but because we get caught up in tradition we do not see that Jesus is tarrying someplace else.
Jesus said: “My Father is still working, so I am working, too. Most assuredly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.” (John 5:17,19 WEB)
We all are to be ‘watchmen and watchwomen’ and we need to be asking the question: What is the Spirit of Jesus doing? I first came into missions 57 years ago, and since then missions have changed. What and how is God working today?
Some years ago, I was in a conference in Dubai where they set aside some people to help facilitate the Chinese Christians who were moving along the Silk Trail on their way back to Jerusalem. When the Operation Mobilization ship DOULOS was in South America the goal was to see Latinos also moving towards Jerusalem. In so doing along the way they evangelized Southern Europe as well as Northern Africa. We know that in the last days Jerusalem will be the hot-spot for the world and with all of the movement taking place today, both politically and economically, God is doing something very special.
But what about our own personal life? What is God doing in us? How is He working in us? After almost 60 years of being a Christian, in the last couple of months God is working in my life to become more flexible in certain areas, and working in my emotions when I am under a spiritual attack, but I know that I need to keep asking myself how Jesus is working in my life to mold me more into His image which I long for.
What about our families? Our children? Our grandkids and in-laws? What and how is God working in them? Do we know so that we can work along with Him, especially in prayer? The main question is: Are we moving with Jesus when HE moves, are we tarrying with Jesus when HE is tarrying? This is our goal! This is my desire!